Urban hot spots come and go. A rocking new one in Omaha that’s all the rage is House of Loom. What it’s staying power is no one knows, but it’s almost beside the point as far as co-founder Brent Crampton is concerned. He’s more about using the venue as a launching pad for socially and culturally progressive ideas and connections that assume a life of their own than he is in making the place a runaway commercial success. So far, he and his partners seem to be doing both. Crampton is another in a long and growing line of creatives making an impact here and his House of Loom is another tangible expression of the more sophisticated and diverse cultural menu emerging in this once sleepy Midwest burg that has awakened. Omaha has actually come into its own as a hopping place where there’s always something compelling going on no matter what you’re into. This blog is full of profiles about the persons and places transforming the city into a cosmo receiving center and exporter of new, different, engaging stuff. Much more to come. Keep reading and checking back.
House of Loom Weaves a New Cultural-Social Dynamic for Omaha
©by Leo Adam Biga
Originally appeared in Encounter Magazine
For a startup bar, House of Loom at 1012 South 10th St. is generating mucho buzz. The reasons for its popularity are as eclectic as the place and the young creatives behind it.
Start with the name. It’s both a brand and a social theory that co-owner and music director Brent Crampton, a DJ by trade, conceived with business partner Jay Kline. Five years ago they launched loom, with a small l, as a roaming multicultural dance party aimed at getting people who normally don’t mix to meet, experience new cultures, form social networks and have fun.
“I have a passion for bringing people together,” says Crampton.
It never sat right with him that despite the Afro-beats he played, his DJing gigs drew mostly white crowds. Under the loom name he began inviting diverse audiences to intersect over music or art or causes at theme nights. “Cultural ambassadors” spread the word.
“These are people who are naturally connectors who have a social network within a certain cultural demographic,” says Crampton. “Through networking we have a lot of people who are into what we’re doing and support us.”
For Crampton and Kline, loom describes their intent to weave the social fabric through music, dance and other art forms, thereby broadening the cultural experience and moving forward social progress. With his Russell Brand looks and persona, Crampton’s a new-school hipster at ease talking about groove as an instrument of change.
He, Kline (the former owner of Fluxiron Gallery) and a third partner, entrepreneur Ethan Bondelid, made loom hot ticket events. The turnouts and cachet kept growing but loom lacked a home of its own. By the partners leasing and renovating the former site of Bones, the Stork Club and the Neon Goose, they now have a distinctly urban space with more flexibility to entertain patrons and promote social agenda issues.
“It opens up possibilities to a lot of great things,” says Crampton.
Bondelid says it’s all about “getting people to try new things,” adding, “We invite people to go on an experience with us.”
Regulars have followed Crampton and Co. to the House of Loom’s near-Old Market location. First-timers are quickly becoming devotees. With a decor equal parts classic Old World bar, nouveau club, chic salon and kitsch bordello it has a warm, funky ambience that, combined with an intimate scale, encourages staying awhile and interacting.
“The idea is for it to look really nice but we don’t want any form of pretentiousness. We just want a nice, unique, comfortable place that does look elegant in its own way,” says Bondelid.
The bohemian vibe extends from the lounge’s rich, multi-colored Victorian-style furniture, homey book cases and tiled fireplace to the well-appointed oak and cedar bar and its crafted cocktails and premium beers to the black painted tin ceiling. Contemporary paintings and sculptures dot the interior.
Curtains can be drawn and furniture rearranged to create more private or open spaces.
A custom-built booth is where Crampton and guest MCs ignite the music. LED lights frame the electric mood. When weather permits, an outdoor patio and garden offer an open-air hang-out.
House of Loom has hosted everything from an Omaha Table Talk dinner to an Opera Omaha night to a Project Interfaith speed dialogue to a celebration of India’s Festival of Lights to a Tango Night to private parties, tastings and spoken word events. It’s an in meet-up spot for arts patrons before and after shows. Featured bands have played Cuban, hip-hop, jazz and a myriad of other music.
Catered international cuisine accompanies some events.
The cultural mix happens in a blend of music, food, ideas, personalities and walks-of-life. Bondelid says House of Loom is a haven for creative class urban adventurers seeking to sample “all different kinds” of experiences and expressions.
For events, bookings and hours, visit http://www.houseofloom.com or call 402-505-5494.
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